News from the Parent Technical Assistance Center
In This Issue

600 W. Virginia Street Suite 501

Milwaukee, WI 53204


(877) 374-0511

Fax: (414) 374-4655


Website: www.wifacets.org


Region 4 PTAC Staff


Courtney Salzer 

Jan Serak


csalzer@wifacets.org jserak@wifacets.org

 Chris Stagge  
 Program Assistant


Nelsinia R. Wroblewski

 Multicultural Consultant

Don Rosin
 Multicultural Consultant

Region 4 Website: 


Region 4 Portal Page



Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, OSEP, PTAC - H328RO80011. 


Project officer: 
 Lisa Gorove 


Views expressed are not necessarily those of the U.S. Department of Education.
Issue No. 18
March, 2013


Dear Friends,


Welcome to this 18th issue of the Insider, our newsletter distributed to Region 4 Parent Centers. We hope you find this edition full of useful information that will help improve your center's effectiveness. In this issue, we are focusing on new ways of doing old things. We will show you: how to get the most impact from your electronic newsletters; how to use graphics to better communicate information - like the results of all the evaluation work you do; trends in technology for 2013; and how to ensure the quality of interpretation services for your trainings and conferences. We also have some important legal updates on parental consent to access public benefits and food allergies and we will introduce you to the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center.


We are looking forward to seeing you all in Milwaukee June 12-14th for the Region 4 PTAC Summer Working Meeting.


Jan Serak & Courtney Salzer

Region 4 PTAC Co-Directors




Best Practices for Electronic Newsletters



As part of our services as a parent center, we disseminate information - lots and lots of information! Newsletters are a time tested strategy for effectively disseminating information. Many centers have migrated their newsletters to an electronic or e-news format because electronic newsletters can reach a wider audience and are far less costly to produce and disseminate. But, print newsletters and electronic newsletters are two very different communication strategies. Further, most individuals are not just receiving your e-newsletter in their inbox, but likely several others in any given day or week. Did you know that the average reader spends only 51 seconds reading the average newsletter? So, how do you ensure that YOUR center's newsletter still has maximum impact? Here are some helpful tips from www.groundwire.org to consider as you put together your next electronic newsletter:   

  1. Keep it short! And link to your website whenever possible. Your newsletter should not contain the full text of each article (unless it's very short).
  2. Use a minimum of graphical elements. A
    few compelling
    pictures next to text is just fine. Also, E-mail messages based mainly on graphic images often are caught or blocked by filters.
  3. Be consistent. Decide on a standard number of articles and a standard format for writing articles and stick to it! Always use the same colors and placement of elements within your newsletter.
  4. Optimize for the preview pane. A large percentage of people only read email in their preview pane. Also keep an eye on the width of your newsletter.
  5. Use a table of contents. This allows people to quickly scan the articles in your newsletter.
  6. Make your content scannable. Ideally you should have between 3 and 5 articles in each newsletter. More than 5 articles is just too long.
  7. Use links properly. Avoid "click here" links. Instead use actionable language such as "read more . . .", "donate", or "unsubscribe".
  8. Test, test, test! Send tests to a variety of email clients such as Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail.

Read the full text of this article. For more information about electronic newsletters, you may be interested in these resources:



Region 4 Summer Working Meeting

  June 12-14, 2013   R4 logo    Milwaukee, WI


Save the Date Details


milwaukee waterfront   





Apps for Infographics


According to Wikipedia, "Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge  intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system's ability to see patterns and trends." These are great for use with your agency Board of Directors, funders, potential supporters, and to be more broadly shared with the public. We spend a lot of time collecting evaluation data. Why not try creating an infographic as a communication piece to summarize your evaluation findings? Five critical design steps to translate evaluation findings or other complex data into an infographic are shown in the infographic below.


Curious about trying to create an infographic? Here are some great apps to try:

(Information original from Elissa Schloesser 1/21/13) 


  techsoup 2 

Nonprofit Tech Forecasts for 2013


Techsoup.org recently published a blog on the 2013 nonprofit technology trends. Here's the buzz:

  •  mobile computing - increased use of tablet computers, convergence of cloud computing services and mobile, increased need to accommodate personally-owned tablets and smartphones on wireless networks in the workplace; need to ensure agency online presence is mobile-friendly
  • decline of PCs
  •  "The Internet of Things" (IoT), new buzzword for the trend in which physical objects will be connected to the Internet and be able to identify themselves to other devices (as, a pedometer connect walking data to Internet fitness program);
  •  "Big Data" another buzzword, or vast amount of public datasets available to tag and manipulate to identify patterns of need, use for advocacy and policy decisions, strategic planning, etc. Infographics will gain traction;
  •  The Cloud services for file storage, data backup, and disaster recovery will expand.

Read the full article here



Interpreters    Interpreters & Simultaneous Translations During Our Training..

Where Do I Start? 


Arranging interpreters or translation services seems an

easy task; however, there are multiple steps that need to be done to avoid difficulties and to guarantee the quality of your interpreted trainings and conferences.


Whether or not your Parent Center have bilingual or multicultural staff, it is clever to know the guidelines on how to work with interpreters and interpretation equipment. The University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension; in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, published a 4-page pamphlet that was prepared with the help of professional interpreters to maximize the outcomes of any educational trainings to be more inclusive to participants that benefit from translation at the event. A summary of the top priorities for working with interpreters included a list of "things to do before, during, and after an interpreter event".

Things to do before an interpreted event include: reserving the equipment, choosing an interpreter, selecting important resources for the interpreter, translation of written materials, informing guest speakers that their session will be interpreted and best practices for arranging payments for interpreters.


Things to do during an interpreted event include: distribution of the interpreting equipment, arranging the space for the interpreter, planning for short breaks and how to support the interpreters, the speakers and the participants.


Things to do after an interpreted event: payment of the interpreter and processing invoices, checking and returning the equipment, evaluation the use of the interpretation, and creating a list of qualified interpreters for future programs.


Read the full article: "Guidelines for Working with Interpreters and Simultaneous Interpretation Equipment"



                           parental consent                            

 Parental Consent to Access Public Benefits



The 2/14/13 Federal Register published IDEA Part B final regulations that change requirements in 34 CFR 300.154(d) related to parental consent to access public benefits or insurance (e.g., Medicaid). Previously, public agencies were required to obtain parental consent each time access was sought. The new regs, effective 3/18/13, will require public agencies to:


1) Obtain a one-time written parental consent before accessing the child's or parent's public benefits or insurance the first time.

 2) Provide written notification to the parents before accessing the benefits or insurance for the first time and prior to obtaining the one-time parental consent and annually thereafter.


The regs specify what information must be included in the written consent and written rights notification. A short summary and Q&A guidance document about the new regs are on the ED website and will be useful to share with your staff and families.


food allergies   


On 12/20/12, the Justice Department entered into an agreement with Lesley University to ensure that its students with food allergies can fully and equally enjoy university food services in compliance with the ADA. The agreement involved a mandatory meal program for a defined group of students. Because its meal plan was mandatory, the ADA required that the University make reasonable modifications to the plan to accommodate students with food allergies, including: provision of gluten-free and allergen-free food options; display of notices about food allergies and foods containing specific allergens; staff training; provision of dedicated space to store and prepare gluten-free and allergen-free foods. Schools will need to evaluate their food service plans to assess if reasonable modifications for its students with disabilities are needed to avoid discrimination. See the Q&A or call ADA, 800-514-0301, for more information.



The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center builds upon the foundation of several recent OSEP-funded TA centers (NECTAC, CELL, TACSEI and ECO) to improve service systems and assist states in scaling up and sustaining effective services and research-based interventions for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with disabilities and their families.


 imp dates 


March 7, 2013

Melody Musgrove PTAC Call, 2-3 pm CDT


March 11, 2013

Region 4 Summer Meeting Planning Committee 11-12 CDT


March 13, 2013

Region 4 Webinar - Discipline & Discharge 101

Keith E. Kopplin, Esq. Krukowski & Costello, S.C.

1:00 - 2:00 pm CDT


March 14, 2013

PTAC Webinar - Continuation Reports 2-3 CDT


March 20-21, 2013

OSEP Leveraging Resources Conference, DC


April 12, 2013

Annual Continuation Reports due


April 24, 2013

Region 4 Webinar: Social Media - HR Tool or Trap?

Keith E. Kopplin, Esq. Krukowski & Costello, S.C.

1:00 - 2:00 pm CDT


May 15, 2013

Region 4 Webinar - Emily Iland - Topic TBA

2-3 pm CDT


June 12-14, 2013

Region 4 PTAC Summer Working Meeting, Milwaukee, WI